Welcome to Aton Forest

Aton Forest, Inc. was formed to preserve the lands assembled by Dr. Frank E. Egler as a Research Natural Area and to continue the low impact, long-term ecological research that he pioneered. The organization also maintains an archive of Dr. Egler ’s written material and library, and curates a portion of his house and furnishings as an informal museum. The aim is to preserve and continue the physical and intellectual legacy of our founder.


2018 Workshop Schedule

Goldenrods Demystified
Monday, October 1st – 9 am to 3 pm
with Bill Moorhead

Wild Mushroom Foray & Feast
October TBA

Check our workshop page to register for workshops

Also visit our FaceBook page for additional notices
For more information you can also email: contact@atonforest.org or call: office 860-542-5125 or cell 860-248-1053


 Thursday, May 24th, 9 am to 3 pm
A workshop led by Bill Moorhead
We will cover the identification and ecology of the 21 southern New England Salix species and several of the hybrids of this troublesome genus. The workshop will begin with a lab session at Aton Forest, and then we will hit the field, visiting several sites in the vicinity of Aton Forest. Participants are encouraged to bring specimens.

Click here to go to the Workshops page to register.

Join us for our Winter Owl 

and Porcupine Monitoring

Saturday, February 24th

Part of Winter Weekend in Norfolk

Groups will meet at 4 & 8 am at Aton Forest Headquarters

RSVP so we don't miss you!
Cell phone (860) 248-1053
Email contact@atonforest.org
Call or text if you will be late.

For those daring early birds, join us for an owl prowl at 4 am starting at AF Headquarters (270 North Colebrook Road, Norfolk). To RSVP call/text by 5 pm Friday 2/23. We have been hearing northern saw-whet, barred and great horned owls this winter. We will listen for these along North Colebrook Road  and South Sandisfield Road. We expect to finish and be back to Headquarters by 6 am.

We will begin our search for active porcupine dens at 8 am, again meeting at AF Headquarters. From there we will head out to nearby den sites, but be prepared for rough hiking conditions (wear appropriate winter hiking attire, especially good boots and micro-spikes or YakTrax or snowshoes if the snow is deep). We need to walk some steep slopes and climb over boulders to look into the dens. We will inspect two denning areas and should finish up by 11 am. We will briefly return to the Headquarters between each site, so if you need to leave earlier you will have an opportunity then.

We would cancel these activities only if the weather is poor: very windy or rain/sleet/ice or if the road conditions or travel in the woods is dangerous: check this website or our FaceBook page Friday evening for any changes.

Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available and you can warm up anytime at the Headquarters.

Hope to see you then!

Ecological Research Center and Biological Field Station
An Appeal from Elizabeth Corrigan, President
December 20, 2017

As I compose this year’s appeal letter, my first appeal to you, I am reflecting on the many aspects and events at Aton Forest that have, each in their own way, contributed to an enriching and endearing experience that I now recognize are the reasons I was drawn to this special place. As a field biologist with two decades of experience, I was thrilled to find a local conservation organization offering the advanced classes I desired to hone my plant identification skills, while connecting me to like-minded folks in the conservation community. It wasn’t long after that first class on sedges, given by my friend Bill Moorhead, that I registered for others and learned more about AF. Habitat improvement by managing non-native invasive plants and habitat protection through land acquisition, were up my alley. In particular, I found the contributions by Dr. Egler in the 1940’s to the evolution of the then nascent science of plant ecology, and his professional relationship with Rachel Carson, historically important as well as intriguing. The results of various bird surveys culminating in the designation of AF as an Audubon Important Bird Area was another factor inspiring me to recognize AF as a gem deserving my financial and voluntary support for its commitment to scientifically-based conservation. That was five years ago.

AF continues to evolve as a biological field station and conservation organization. Gains in momentum made 2017 a year of change. The addition of four new members, John Cox, Andrew Gregory, Matthew Johnson and Leslie Watkins has made the board of directors even more energetic. Our long-standing President (10 years), Mike Aurelia, retired and so has our Treasurer, Paul Lagel (who has served since 2001!). Board member Rick Golin has kindly agreed to assume the position of Treasurer. Paul and Mike continue as Board members.

New, exciting projects are in the works. We are in the process of upgrading one of our buildings by making it functional to accommodate researchers, students and others working at or visiting AF. Board member Matthew Johnson is investigating scientific equipment to enhance our desirability as a biological field station, and as an experienced archivist he is organizing the Egler Archives. We are also developing a program for 2018 that tells the story of the Dr. Egler - Rachel Carson connection and the influence they had on each other as she penned Silent Spring. Habitat improvement by removing invasive plants in Aton Forest riparian zones continues. Thus far, we have covered approximately 43 acres of streamside, now improved by eliminating glossy buckthorn, Japanese barberry and multiflora rose. We also continue to serve as host organization for the Sandy Brook Conservation Corridor Partnership, working with our partners to conserve land and promote good land stewardship. And, by year’s end, we anticipate protecting 15 more acres in Colebrook. Conservation of the contiguous Danforth property on Chimney Hill will protect a hickory glade, classified as a state recognized critical habitat, forested uplands and wetlands.

Please support Aton Forest. Clearly, Aton Forest is evolving but to maintain this momentum we need your financial assistance more than ever given the climate of waning resources. There is so much to accomplish! Please give as generously as possible. Thank you ahead of time for your consideration.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday season, Elizabeth Corrigan

To Donate, please use the donate button on the right. Thank you!
Join expert birder Fran Zygmont for a birding adventure through Aton Forest. 
Go to Workshops page
American Woodcock:Habits and Habitats
A program on this odd little bird, including a walk to listen and watch its courtship ritual
Friday, April 14th
6 pm at the Aton Forest Headquarters
270 N. Colebrook Rd., Norfolk, CT

More information under Events

Willows Demystified

Tuesday, May 23rd
go to workshops, navigate to March 2017
led by Bill Moorhead